Man in court over Clegg paint attack

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A MAN has appeared in court accused of splattering Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg with blue paint during a visit to grassroots Liberal Democrat activists.

Stuart Rodger, aged 22, was charged with assaulting the Deputy PM and three police officers during the alleged attack on Thursday night in Glasgow.

The preliminary court procedures were heard at Glasgow Sheriff Court last night and adjourned until a further hearing, for which a date has yet to be set.

It is understood Rodger, from Inverkeithing, Fife, is a former Liberal Democrat member who left the party over its decision to enter into coalition with the Conservatives.

He is accused of throwing a paint-filled egg which struck Mr Clegg “on the body”. The defendant made no plea and no declaration and was granted bail.

Mr Clegg got paint on his face and his jacket outside a question-and-answer session. But he made light of the incident, saying: “These things happen. It’s not a big deal.”

A spokesman for the Deputy PM added: “Nick’s got three children under 10 - he’s not worried about a bit of paint.

“Nick certainly was not going to let it stop him from talking to Glaswegian Liberal Democrats about their concerns.”

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, who was also hit by the paint, blamed “disgruntled individuals” who “chose not to speak about their concerns in advance but were purely interested in a stunt”.

He added: “I’ve always wanted a blue streak in my hair but my mother wouldn’t let me.”

The attack comes just a few weeks before September’s Lib Dem conference in Birmingham, when Mr Clegg is expected to come under more pressure from party activists.

Former PM Tony Blair was the target of a Fathers 4 Justice ambush in 2004, when he was struck by a purple powder bomb as he stood at the House of Commons despatch box. More recently Jonathan May-Bowles was jailed after attacking media mogul Rupert Murdoch with shaving foam.

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